Hydrogen – DFDS examines “all possible options”

The ferry shipping company DFDS has published a feasibility study on hydrogen drives together with H2 Energy. The shipping company explains that it is pursuing many ways to achieve climate neutrality.

Last year, H2 Energy and DFDS worked together on a project to analyse the feasibility of retrofitting large ferries with a hydrogen propulsion system. The project has now been completed and provides important insights for further analysis of the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel for maritime and road transport. The project was supported by the Danish Maritime Fund. [ds_preview]

DFDS recently launched its “Ships of the Future” program, under which the company’s fleet will be expanded by two methanol, two electric and two ammonia vessels over the next six years. Although hydrogen is not included in the program and DFDS has no plans to use hydrogen as a fuel in the near future, the Danish shipping company says it wants to contribute to the development of knowledge about hydrogen as part of the ongoing analysis of possible net-zero scenarios for both ships and road transport.

With the support of the Danish Maritime Fund, DFDS, H2 Energy and Lloyd’s Register have set out to demonstrate the technical and operational feasibility of hydrogen propulsion systems by analysing the key aspects of a complete hydrogen ecosystem using the DFDS RoRo cargo vessel “Magnolia Seaways” on the Esbjerg-Immingham-Esbjerg route as the focus of the study. This includes the procurement of green hydrogen from the H2 Energy large-scale production plant in Esbjerg, shore supply and logistics including bunkering, the use of a hydrogen-powered drivetrain and safety measures.

Retrofitting DFDS ferry to hydrogen “technically feasible and commercially viable under a number of basic assumptions”

Lloyd’s Register (LR) Maritime Decarbonisation Hub also contributed to the study with a safety risk assessment and granted approval in principle for the concept and initial design of the hydrogen systems. The project is now complete and the study concluded that retrofitting Magnolia Seaways with a hydrogen-powered propulsion system is technically feasible and commercially viable under a number of basic assumptions. However, building the entire hydrogen ecosystem to produce hydrogen cost-effectively and on a large scale is complex. Everything from energy infrastructure to political support must be in place.

“Hydrogen holds great potential for decarbonising the logistics sector, both at sea and on land. Our new study is just one piece of a larger puzzle involving energy suppliers, ports, government agencies and end users such as shipping companies, etc. This project provides further insights into hydrogen and its potential for decarbonisation. It is an excellent starting point for the further development of hydrogen ecosystems that will enable the use of hydrogen as a fuel on a large scale in the future,” says Rolf Huber, founder of H2 Energy.

H2 Energy is involved in several projects to develop hydrogen production, including one of the world’s largest plants in Esbjerg. Its experts and engineers have already helped develop solutions for converting trucks and heavy goods vehicles from diesel to hydrogen.

DFDS: “We are pursuing several paths to reach net zero”

DFDS has set itself the goal of reducing the CO2 intensity of ferries by 45% (Tank to Wake) and the greenhouse gas intensity of road transport, terminals and warehousing by 75% (Well to Wake) by 2030. The aim is to achieve a net-zero balance by 2050. To achieve these goals, DFDS says it is examining “all possible options”.

“We are pursuing several ways to achieve our net-zero targets. Hydrogen is one of the promising fuels we are analysing as a potential fuel source for the future, both on land and at sea. We are working closely with partners, suppliers and other stakeholders to address and solve known challenges related to the use of zero-emission fuels. We need to build knowledge about the different options in order to make smart choices, and it is important that we share this knowledge. I would like to thank the Danish Maritime Fund for its important contribution to this project, which will benefit the entire industry,” says Mads Bentzen Billesø, Head of Innovation and Partnerships at DFDS.

The shift to alternative energy sources brings new safety challenges and shipping must deal with more complex hazards. For the study, LR Maritime Decarbonisation Hub assessed these hazards and determined how the risks can be reduced.

“Supply chain projects, with forward-thinking stakeholders working together, are crucial in building on the wealth of knowledge and ambition that exists in the maritime sector around the opportunities of the energy transition. A risk-based approach is needed in the transition to novel fuels such as hydrogen to demonstrate to all stakeholders that the risks are reduced to an acceptable level. The findings from this project, involving the Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonisation Hub and other industry initiatives, will further improve safety and accelerate the pace at which we can make the transition,” says Nick Brown, CEO of LR Group.

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